October 6, 2016
Progress for Sci-fi Reviews by WomenLondon Data+Women meetup and Emma Cosh gave a fantastic presentation about a project she worked on with Strange Horizons about the change in women reviewers and reviewers in sci-fi magazines. The visualisations she presented worked well because she was there to explain them. On the way home, I got to thinking...would these work well without her explaining what they mean? Maybe, but I think they could be better.
This also got me thinking about the work by Stephanie Evergreen and her focus on effective, impactful titles. I recommend to people that when they are creating visualisations, assume the audience will see a static image. If they can't understand it, then it should be changed.
First, here's the visualisation that Emma created:
|Click for the interactive version|
There are a few things I would change:
- Give it a stronger title that explains the visualisation and the key message
- Only label the lines that are increasing
- Only show the magazine name on the left label to minimize the text
- Make the footer legible (brown on black is too hard to read)
The workbook wasn't downloadable so I recreated all of the data manually. I made the changes noted above, which are all pretty minor. Most importantly, though, the viz now has a stronger title and gives the reader a much clearer message. As Stephanie Evergreen says:
If you do nothing else to improve a weak visualization, you’ll still seriously improve its interpretability by giving it an awesome title.I certainly wouldn't classify Emma's viz as weak, it merely could be more effective.